Germany Shocked by Navalny SentenceWorld | July 18, 2013, Thursday // 16:13| views
Germany has expressed shock over the controversial five-year prison sentence of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.
"The nature of the trial and the tough sentence are further proof of the Russian legal system's lack of independence," said Markus Loening, the German government's representative for human rights, as cited by international media.
"Russia has taken a further step back from democracy and the rule of law," he said.
"Alexei Navalny must be able to take part in political life. I demand that Moscow authorities allow the expected protests and demonstrations against the verdict.”
A spokesman for the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said she was "concerned about the guilty verdict and the prison sentences handed down today by the Kirov Court" against Navalny and co-defendant Pyotr Ofitserov.
A Russian court sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to five years in jail on embezzlement charges earlier on Thursday.
The conviction, unless overturned upon appeal, will prevent Navalny from running for public office.
The only co-defendant in the trial, Pyotr Ofitserov, was also found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison.
Both men pleaded not guilty and said they plan to appeal.
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